After 7 weeks of NFL action things have tightened up in the race for the top spot in the AFC West. The San Diego Chargers hold on to a slight lead with a 4-2 record heading into Week 8. They are followed by a 4-3 Oakland Raiders, 3-3 Kansas City Chiefs, and 2-4 Denver Broncos. So when its all said and done this season, who is going to remain atop the AFC West?
Monday night may be an early indication of things to come as the Division leading San Diego Chargers make their way to Arrowhead Stadium for a Monday night showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. The winner of this game will be the division leader. I think this is a pivotal game for a Chiefs team who is coming off of 3 wins in a row. My prediction for the game: Chiefs 27 Chargers 17
My take on how each team finishes in the division runs down like this: I think even thought the San Diego Chargers are in position to lose an early lead in the division that they will capture it down the stretch. The difference in their tough schedule along with the other teams in the division is that they get some of their most difficult games at home. I believe that is going to be the difference and I see them finishing first in the division with a 9-7 record.
The Kansas City Chiefs show a lot of improvement as the season progresses but with having a very difficult schedule, I just do not see them being able to beat teams like the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, and Chicago Bears. I see their record finishing around 7-9 to 8-8 if they manage to pull off a upset on the road. My only hang up on this prediction is if they can pull off this Monday night game against the Chargers it will provide a good deal of momentum for them. On the other side, they still have not beat good teams aside from an Oakland team who beat themselves as much as anything with the quarterback performance they displayed on Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders started off the season showing a lot of promise until injury to Jason Campbell showed how crucial that could be for a team. Even with the trade for Carson Palmer, I am not sold on him being their savior. I think it is going to take a extraordinary amount of work from their talented run game to put away victories this year. They too have a very difficult remaining schedule and if they get behind in games, then seeing a repeat of what the Chiefs did to them may become a reoccurring nightmare. I predict the Raiders to finish between 6-10 and 7-9.
The Denver Broncos are probably the most difficult team to evaluate as far as predicting how they will do from one week to the next. They have a very difficult remaining schedule and I think this weeks game when the Detroit Lions come to town will show whether or not Tim Tebow is going to be able to lead this team over a higher level of competition. While I think Tebow will pull out some games for the Broncos, I think until the coaching staff has a better suited game plan for him, that he is going to face a very difficult road ahead. I see the Broncos hanging with the Raiders for last place in the division with a 6-10 to 7-9 record. They have a small window of hope left for their season and the Detroit Lions are standing in their way come Sunday.
This weekend the Raiders have a much needed bye week which is going to be critical for them to get healthy and get Carson in sync with the offense. The Broncos have a large task ahead of them in the Detroit Lions, fortunately the Broncos have this game at home and if Tim Tebow can start off hot, the crowd should provide some help there. Monday night I think Arrowhead is going to be on fire for this game. You cannot ask for a better match up and home game if you are the Chiefs. Division lead on the line, in Arrowhead, Halloween night, division rivalry, add these up and we could see some fireworks.